Amesbury is a suburban community with an unusual industrial and manufacturing history. First settled by Europeans in 1645, the town's earliest industries included mills, shipyards and a heavily used ferry operation across the Merrimac River to Newburyport. There were always scattered farms in the community, but unlike most Colonial settlements, agriculture was secondary to an aggressive maritime and industrial economy. By the 19th century, the shipbuilding, shipping and fishing which had employed most of the population was giving way to textiles, ironworks, saw and grist mills that had been established on a 90' drop of the Powow River, which provided crucial water power.
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